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The Wall Street Journal: Justice Department to probe PGA Tour over potential antitrust violations in LIV Golf battle

The Department of Justice is investigating whether the PGA Tour engaged in anticompetitive behavior as it battles the upstart, Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit, the PGA Tour confirmed to The Wall Street Journal. 

Players’ agents have received inquiries from the DOJ’s antitrust division involving both the PGA Tour’s bylaws governing players’ participation in other golf events, and the PGA Tour’s actions in recent months relating to LIV Golf, according to a person familiar with those inquiries. 

The questions send a clear signal that the Justice Department is watching the fight that has divided professional golf, which both sides expect to end up in U.S. courts at some point. Such an investigation would ordinarily include the subject being instructed to freeze all relevant communications, both internal and with third parties.

A spokesman for the PGA Tour said it was aware of the investigation—and was confident it would prevail. The Department of Justice declined to comment.

Since the debut of LIV Golf, which is financed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, the PGA Tour has suspended players who have chosen to participate—a punishment that LIV has assailed as anticompetitive. Some of those players have opted to resign from the PGA Tour.  

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com.

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